The Igbo people mostly referred to as the Ibo people originate from Nigeria dominantly on the southeastern side. In fact they are the largest group in the Nigerian population. What’s more there presence is also seen in neighboring countries like Cameroon and West Africa countries. Culture, as in way of living, values and beliefs of people and language is strictly observed and preserved among the Igbo people. The most important cultural theme among the Igbo people is kinship solidity harmony.
Being the largest population it faces threat from other ethnic groups and particularly during the Nigerian civil war which was mainly fuelled by resentment and desire to perform genocide against the Igbo people, the people solidarity and links were strengthened. The civil war in the 1966-1967 periods was a trying time for the Igbo people and so many of their brothers and sisters were killed. The elderly are held in high esteem among the Igbo people and they played a big role in instilling self determination and kinship among the people in order to build strength against future events like the civil war.
Since those days the major cultural theme among the Igbo people has been kinship and solidarity. The Igbo people daily life is unique and reflectant to this theme. For instance in language, is a symbol used to identify a native Igbo from other ethnic group and with the single utterance of Igbo word/s other Igbo people welcome the stranger as one among them. Children are taught the vernacular language at an early age so that they can identify with their people. (www. africaguide. com/culture/tribes/ibo ) This is irrespective of whether the child is raised in the urban city or overseas.
The language (Kwa language) is interesting and uniquely stands out from other language owing to its high pitch and vocal inflections. In addition, the use of proverbs and idioms is dominant in the Igbo language mostly for the purposes of sending words of wisdom and emphasis in the importance of togetherness among the people. One who does not make use of these symbols of speech and wisdom expression is considered a greenhorn to the Igbo people. The daily life among the Igbo people is also characteristic of the major theme of solidarity and kinship among the people.
In fact, the village life among the Igbo people comprises of hundreds of close knit families (both nuclear and extended. The welfare of the children is vested on the community at large and it is not strange to find a stranger watching over the children of a neighbor in the absence of parents or caregivers. One important thing to note about the Igbo people and indeed the reason behind their strong sense of kinship and solidarity is that they do not have a single ruler and that decisions are made after an all inclusive deliberation with the stakeholders.
This means that there is absence of a unit control to the population. Nonetheless, the Igbo community is not devoid of recognized institutions of authority, for example there are council of elders, women associations, council of chiefs, secret societies among other groups which look out for the interest and welfare of the community. At the same breath, the Igbo people parallel encourage individual independence as well as community kinships (www. africaguide. com/culture/tribes/ibo. html Religion also plays a major role in emphasizing the cultural theme of solidarity and kinship within the community.
According to the Igbo people there are three levels of divine authority with the Chukwu being the highest in the hierarchy. Below this there is the ‘Umuagbara’ and the ‘Ndi ichie’. The ndi ichie is basically the spirits of the dead people. (Website). The Igbo people believed that the dead are reincarnated to be reborn and the cycle continues, in the spirit world. That is death is just a transition from the real life to the spirit world. Villages have priests and religious leaders who perform rituals and ceremonies to praise the gods and solicit for peace and togetherness as well as plentiful harvest.
The ceremonies and rituals are highly placed among the Igbo people and often people congregate to a peace the Ndi Ichie so that they offer protection among the Igbo people. This also contributes to kinship and solidarity in the community. There is a sharp contrast between the cultural theme of the Igbo people and that is the Americans. One distinct contrast is that the Americans emphasis individualism and materialism. This means in America it is survival for the fittest as everyone tries to attain the American dream. Additionally, the religious theme in America is almost divine authority.
In fact others believe there is no God. What’s more in America, there is presence of single authority as well as other authorities whose role unlike the Igbo is to perform state administrative tasks, and maintain law and order as well as security. The Igbo communities do these things collectively. There are many problems that face the Igbo people currently includes object poverty, tribalism and ethnic hostility, Disease, political instability among others. However the chief problem that the Igbo people face is tribalism which fuel civil wars.
The people from Igbo since the civil wars up to date face discrimination in areas of employment and security property. This dates back to the time during the civil war where their lands, infrastructure and farms were massively destroyed and their savings lost. They became the poorest ethnic group to and even today most of the Igbo people have not been able to fully recover from the effects of the devastating war. The hostility against Igbo continues because the Igbo are still the majority and the rich economic resource of petroleum industry in the Niger delta is situated in the southern side of Nigeria which is where the Igbo people dominate.
The solution to end the problems facing the Igbo people, that is, tribalism and civil wars, is to educate the population on the ills and the regressive nature of tribalism. Notably, the cancerous vice that is tribalism is perpetrated by greedy politicians who thrive in seeing poor illiterate people fight each other for irrelevant reasons such as tribalism. Conventional wisdom has it that tribalism is the cheapest way of diving and ruling the uneducated crowd and in order to counteract the problem of tribalism then the way to do this will be through education mostly on civic and historic issues.
This will make the people more aware of their roots, their values as a people as well as their rights and obligations. In America, although racism is present in subtle amounts, it is impossible to influence the citizens to fight off each other on the basis of tribe. This is attributed to the high level of literacy in America.
The African guide. African people and culture. Retrieved on October 25, 2007 from World Wide Web: http://www.africaguide.com/